Leigh A. Neithardt

Leigh Neithardt headshot wearing striped button down with denim jacket with woods in the background
Writer, Storyteller, Irreverent


Writer, Storyteller, Scholar

Thanks for visiting! First of all, if you’re here, it means that you didn’t get tripped up in your attempts to spell my name. Thank you for your persistence! I asked a friend what would be a good reward for that persistence, and she suggested either a piece of advice or a random fact. I reminded her that I am the last person who should be giving anyone advice. That leaves us with a random fact: Way-back-when, I worked for Nickelodeon for a year!

For the better part of the past two decades, I have been either studenting in higher ed or working adjacent to it. I’m currently working at the Modern Language Association and previously worked for the American Association of University Professors. I have a PhD in teaching and learning from The Ohio State University in Columbus, an MFA in creative writing from American University, and a BA in English from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey in  New Brunswick, where I attended Douglass College.

(English majors are employable!) 

I’ve also worked in my hometown school district and written web copy on topics ranging from backyard pool installation to pop culture. My research focuses on children’s literature, disability studies, and rhetorical narrative theory.

Since you’re here, it’s likely that you know me, are completing a fun internet scavenger hunt of some kind, or you’re interested in something I’ve written. My most recent published writings have been a blend of disability theory and memoir, so you likely also know that I have cerebral palsy (CP). People ask me mundane questions about it (“Why are you limping? Are you OK?”); people ask me weird questions about it. (“Are you going to die?”)

  • I have CP.
  • Yes, I’m fine.
  • Regrettably, I missed out on the immortality lottery, so yes, at some point, I will die. In the meantime, I’m going to spend time writing about my experiences, including being asked the weird questions. Thank you for giving me another one!

Available Now

Placing Disability:
Personal Essays of Embodied Geography

Featuring "Between Places" by Leigh A. Neithardt

I fall. A lot. If the Guinness World Records folks acknowledged a world record in falling, I’d have a decent shot at earning it. This book chapter grew from a story I’ve wanted to write for at least the past two decades: the experience of being disabled and of getting stuck in the winter while trying to go from Here to There because someone hasn’t properly cleaned a small patch of grass, slab of sidewalk, or other ground that pedestrians need to cross.

3D book cover of "Placing Disability: Personal Stories of Embodied Geography

About the Book

Placing Disability presents an international collection of personal essays that address the experience of disability in particular geographical locations.

Each chapter engages the question of what it means to be disabled in a specific place, exploring issues of movement, work and play, community and activism, artistic production, love and marriage, access and social services, family and friendship, memory and aging―all informed by the places that people inhabit.

The book is organized in terms of topographies and vistas, rather than being bound by the map, to emphasize the defining, constitutive effects of place. The authors included in Placing Disability hail from different countries, neighborhoods, climates, and landscapes; from various backgrounds and professions; from a range of disciplinary perspectives and strategies.

They are trained as academics, literary critics, poets, students, public speakers, memoirists, educators, philosophers, administrators, and activists. Their essays refine our understanding of the complex dynamic between self and circumstance as they survey the impact of geographical region on their life experiences.

This book is intended to be useful in creative-writing workshops, disability studies seminars, and classes on environmental literature, and to appeal to general readers of memoir as well as to scholars of contemporary body theory or the Anthropocene.

What People Are Saying


Placing Disability is an engaging compilation of disability memoirs that offers important insight into the intersection between embodiment and emplacement.

Each essay—from established disability activists and writers as well as a range of new voices—presents a thoughtfully-crafted reflection on how the authors’ disabilities shaped their experience with and attachment to the places they inhabit.

An important and much-needed addition to the fields of disability studies, environmental humanities, and life writing.”

Shippensburg University logo which is a red and black ship
Dr. Matthew Cella
Associate Professor of English at Shippensburg University and Director of the Interdisciplinary Minor in Disability Studies
book cover of "Placing Disability: Personal Stories of Embodied Geography

Bookshop.org ✩

Local bookstores are essential community hubs that foster culture, curiosity, and a love of reading.

Every purchase on Bookshop.org financially supports local, independent bookstores. How It Works.


Barnes & Noble


Barnes & Noble

Past Work

Say hi!

Please use the form below to reach out to me. Whether you have questions about my work, seek collaboration, or just want to say, “Hello,” I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you for writing!